Monday, October 12, 2009

One Night In The Hangar: How One Cherrylock Saved Six Jobs When The Boss Wasn't Looking

One night in the hangar, way back past the statute of limitations the crew was installing the wing planks on an ex-Federal Express Falcon 20 freighter. It was part of a five or was it ten? year tank and plank inspection. The planks had been treated and recoated, the 12 hour 1422 sealer had been applied, the planks were in place and installation of the securing screws had started.

The lower wing planks are secured with screws going into nutplates-lots of screws, several hundred at least. Six of us had stayed over to finish the job, and the customer was due the next day.

One plank had gone pretty well, and midway through the second one of the guys looked at Jose, the crew chief and said "We've got a problem here."

One screw had galled itself and stripped out the nutplate, and it couldn't be retapped. It meant removing the wing plank again, ordering a nutplate, and taking a gamble that it wouldn't happen again on another of the many hundreds of nutplates.

Then Jose said "I've got an idea." He pulled a small depth gauge out of his shirt pocket and took a quick depth measurement.

He went to the tool crib and came back with a drill and bit, a microstop countersink, a countersink type cherry rivet  and a pneumatic puller. He said "Watch this shit."

Carefully countersinking and slightly enlarging the previously metric hole he test fitted the cherry rivet and said to the rest of us "Are you guys ready? Remember, NOBODY knows anything."

Jose dipped the cherry rivet in a pot of 1422 sealer, inserted it in the hole, applied the pneumatic puller and.......and.........and........

A diversion. When installing any type of blind fastener you listen for the noise when the stem separates. A nice kaPOW! tells you the rivet pulled and clinched. A dull thud tells you you'll have to start removing it and rethinking your strategy.

Jose pulled the trigger and kaPOW! the stem broke as cleanly as the picture in the instruction manual.

He smiled and said "Button her up. Somebody put a click patch over that thing. There's some Coronas in the fridge."


The picture was stolen from some Chinese company or other. They steal our IP, so who cares?


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